Utopia as Method: The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society

Paperback | August 22, 2013

byRuth Levitas

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In this major new work by one of the leading writers on Utopian Studies, Ruth Levitas argues that a prospective future of ecological and economic crises poses a challenge to the utopian imaginary. To conceive a better world, and alternative future, Utopia as Method does not construe utopia as a goal or blueprint, but as a holistic, reflexive method for developing what those possible futures might be. It begins by treating utopia as the quest for grace, through a hermeneutics that recovers the utopian meaning in our culture, explored through colour and music. Moving from the existential to the social, it draws on H. G. Wells's claim that the creation of utopias is the distinctive and proper method of sociology, and on the tentative reappearance of utopia in contemporary social theory. It proposes a constructive method, the Imaginary Reconstitution of Society. This fusion of explicitly normative social theory and analytic critique rehabilitates utopia as an integral part of sociology, and offers a means of collective engagement in shaping a better tomorrow.

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From the Publisher

In this major new work by one of the leading writers on Utopian Studies, Ruth Levitas argues that a prospective future of ecological and economic crises poses a challenge to the utopian imaginary. To conceive a better world, and alternative future, Utopia as Method does not construe utopia as a goal or blueprint, but as a holistic, ref...

Ruth Levitas is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol, founding Chair of the Utopian Studies Society Europe, and Chair of the William Morris Society. Her publications include The Concept of Utopia. In 2012 she received the Lyman Tower Sargent Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Utopian Studies.

other books by Ruth Levitas

Interpreting Official Statistics
Interpreting Official Statistics

Kobo ebook|Aug 4 2005

$89.17

The Concept of Utopia
The Concept of Utopia

Paperback|Jan 20 2010

$63.64

Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.66 × 5.6 × 0.64 inPublished:August 22, 2013Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230231977

ISBN - 13:9780230231979

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction

PART I
1. From Terror to Grace
2. Riff on Blue
3. Echoes of Elsewhere

PART II
4. Between Sociology and Utopia
5. Utopia Denied
6. Utopia Revised
7. The Return of the Repressed

PART III
8. Utopia as Archaeology
9. Utopia as Ontology
10. Utopia as Architecture

Editorial Reviews

'Levitas's Utopia as Method is a crucial and necessary book. In the face of global ecological and economic crises, she offers utopianism as a robust and realistic method that encompasses both a critique of the existing world and alternatives for a better one that can be mobilized in the process of transforming, indeed redeeming, the dark times in which we live.' - Tom Moylan, Professor Emeritus and Co-Director of the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies at the University of Limerick, Ireland 'Author of the path-breaking The Concept of Utopia Ruth Levitas has produced a new powerful reflection on the protean nature of the utopian. It is a very fine work, theoretically innovative, truly interdisciplinary, and combining scholarly integrity with a distinctive political voice. The meditations of a lifetime.' - Vincent Geoghegan, Professor of Political Theory, Queen's University Belfast, UK'Ruth Levitas' Utopia as Method is a profound and deeply original exploration of the connection between utopian thinking and social theory, and an urgent call for sociologists to place the imaginary reconstruction of society at the centre of their work. It is a wonderful, inspiring book.' - Erik Olin Wright, Vilas Distinguished Professor, University of Wisconsin, USA  'This book is an indispensable support for deep change in trivial times, a testimonial to the transformative power of imagination, and a celebration of life as a journey that can find an echo across all cultures in our changing world.'  - Jenneth Parker, Research Director, Schumacher Institute, UK  'In Utopia as Method, Levitas offers an urgent and convincing application of utopian theories to IROS (the Imaginary Reconstitution of Society). She builds on her magisterial earlier work The Concept of Utopia to persuade readers that the current era (late capitalism in its death throes) has made utopian thinking mandatory not self-indulgent or irrelevant. Levitas is to be congratulated for the depth of her argument, the clarity of its expression, and the honesty that lies at its heart.' - Toby Widdicombe, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA